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Deion Branch: We’re a lot better than last year

Miami Dolphins  Sean Smith walks away as New England Patriots wide reciever Wes Welker celebrates his touch down with Patriots teammate Deion Branch during the first half of their NFL football game in Foxborough Reuters

On the surface, there isn’t much obvious difference between this year’s Patriots team and the one that lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl last year.

They won the AFC East, earned a first-round bye (albeit not the first seed) and head into their first playoff game with plenty of people predicting that they’ll make it to the Super Bowl for the sixth time in the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era. Wide receiver Deion Branch things those people have a pretty good chance of being proven right because he thinks this Patriots team is ahead of last year’s group.

“We want to make this team, the 2012 Patriots team, a special team,” Branch said, via Tom Curran of CSNNewEngland.com. “Each year is going to be something different. We’re a lot better than we were last year. We don’t have the same players. That team, the 2011 team, was totally different from this year.”

Branch has some backing statistically speaking. This year’s Patriots team scored more points and allowed fewer than they did last year, although the offensive rise was more significant than the defensive improvement. Numbers don’t tend to matter all that much in the postseason as one or two twists can change the entire outcome of a game that looked a lot different on paper heading into the contest.

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48 Responses to “Deion Branch: We’re a lot better than last year”
  1. jcmeyer10 says: Jan 9, 2013 11:19 AM

    Stats don’t count for much now. It’s all about how you play and the results going forward.

    The more confidence the Pats have the scarier they are, especially on defense.

  2. coltzfan166 says: Jan 9, 2013 11:22 AM

    Funny how he says that when he hasn’t been on the team for half the season.

  3. nflofficeadmin says: Jan 9, 2013 11:25 AM

    You could just call it the Tom Brady era because Belichick never won a SB without Tom, but Tom has had several different OCs come and go. (Belichick is afterall a DC at his roots.)

  4. snowpea84 says: Jan 9, 2013 11:32 AM

    Didn’t they add Talib to their secondary and have so far kept his behavior in check. That right there is a pretty big addition.

  5. woodyg says: Jan 9, 2013 11:33 AM

    Doesn’t someone on the Pats say this every year at about this time?? —- But yet, the Pats haven’t won a SB since season 2004. (seven seasons and counting)

    That’s a long time to be talk’in the talk but not being able to walk the walk.

  6. weepingjebus says: Jan 9, 2013 11:40 AM

    The Patriots have been a serious threat to go the distance every year now for over a decade. That is amazing. I look forward to boring my grandkids with stories about it someday.

  7. nicepak381 says: Jan 9, 2013 11:49 AM

    Over the past 12 years the Pats have shown us all kinds of surprizes and the fertile minds of B&B continue to do new things. They got angry after that spy gate bs in 07 and decided to massacre everyone the rest of the year, to prove they didn’t need to steal signals in order to win. This season, I think they’ve tried not to show all they’ve got and will have more surprizes in the tournament. I expect that, if they get control of the Texans, they will play conservatively to close out, but if they go to Denver we’ll see their full arsenal, minus a couple tricks they’ll save for the SB. If they don’t suffer any critical injuries ( like the Edelman loss ) over the next two games, they will take the Lombardi again. I’m getting prepared to have my mind blown by this team.

  8. sschmiggles says: Jan 9, 2013 11:50 AM

    It’s not about numbers. The Patriots have a running game, an outside passing game, and a better playcaller on offense.

    On defense, they’ve added much more depth on the d-line (Chandler Jones, Cunningham, Scott), and a secondary that can actually play man coverage (no Julian Edelmans or Ihedigbos playing DB this time).

    I also think this team is more battle-hardened than the 2011 team. So yeah, there’s no guarantees in the playoffs, but the Patriots are clearly a better team and it’s not about the numbers.

  9. tombradysbaby says: Jan 9, 2013 11:52 AM

    Here comes the 4th ring for Brady!! Now that there won’t be any Giants to spoil the final game we can bank on Brady getting it done.

    They’ll beat Houston, and will beat either the Ravens or the Broncos to get to the final game. The only NFC team I see giving them fits would be the 49′rs and I am not sure they will make the run.

  10. knackstermyea says: Jan 9, 2013 11:53 AM

    Looking foward to a possible Manning VS Brady AFC Championship matchup.

  11. tedmurph says: Jan 9, 2013 12:04 PM

    I find it funny how the haters measure the Pats by how long it’s been since their last SB win. Not just getting there, but winning it. Meanwhile, most of them are just hoping there team can make it to the playoffs and maybe win a SB some day. Maybe when Brady and Belichick retire. Guess the Pats are held to loftier standards.

  12. footballmaven says: Jan 9, 2013 12:04 PM

    Hope Deion’s right, but the fact is,SF made them look like monkeys, Houston and Denver messed up first time around; if they beat Houston,it will be almost impossible to win in Denver; Pats couldn’t beat Jake Plummer out there with a good D, how they gonna beat Payton with a fair-to-lousy D ?

  13. jcmeyer10 says: Jan 9, 2013 12:04 PM

    If the Pats and Broncos both win, count on champagne bottles being popped in CBS offices all over the country.

  14. teamobijuan says: Jan 9, 2013 12:07 PM

    Guy gets cut and released biweekly and still says “we”. Class act.

  15. ravenmuscle says: Jan 9, 2013 12:07 PM

    The Patriots have no chance of winning this weekend because they have the worst fans in the NFL and a dump for a Stadium.

  16. patsfan13 says: Jan 9, 2013 12:13 PM

    Woodyg You didn’t mention the team you back. What have they done, in comparison to the Pats? Yes the Pats lost the last two Super Bowls. They lost by a total of 7 points. Either game could have gone the Pats way. The Pats have consistently among the top teams in the league. What does you team do?

  17. CKL says: Jan 9, 2013 12:19 PM

    IF (not WHEN, IF) the Pats make it to the AFCC…and I’m a big “any given Sunday ” person either opponent would provide a lot of compelling storylines.

    I love Deion and he’s a team guy, but I wish he hadn’t said that about being a lot better than they were last year. All that matters is who is better THAT DAY…not who is “better”.

  18. rc33 says: Jan 9, 2013 12:25 PM

    woodyg says: Jan 9, 2013 11:33 AM

    Doesn’t someone on the Pats say this every year at about this time?? —- But yet, the Pats haven’t won a SB since season 2004. (seven seasons and counting)

    That’s a long time to be talk’in the talk but not being able to walk the walk.
    ———————————-
    Giants, Pgh, Indy, N.O. & G.B.
    One winner and 31 losers every year.
    So in Woody’s world, five of the 32 are walking the walk. And that’s it.
    Serious question though; if you win a conference championship but don’t finish the deal, should that be considered “losing?”

  19. gambeast5533 says: Jan 9, 2013 12:30 PM

    IF the Pats make the Super Bowl again, they should count themselves lucky. They have had a tremendous amount of success. It is ridiculous what they are able to do every year in this era of football with the amount of turnover the teams have. They have been poached of lots of talented players and coaches. Yet, they still compete almost every year. I could see the Seahawks, Packers, or 49ers giving them a hard time in the Super Bowl this year. They would still need to get past the Texans and the Ravens/Broncos. None of those are easy games. The Pats sure would have earned it this year.

  20. flash1283 says: Jan 9, 2013 12:33 PM

    footballmaven says:
    Jan 9, 2013 12:04 PM
    Hope Deion’s right, but the fact is,SF made them look like monkeys, Houston and Denver messed up first time around; if they beat Houston,it will be almost impossible to win in Denver; Pats couldn’t beat Jake Plummer out there with a good D, how they gonna beat Payton with a fair-to-lousy D ?

    —-

    “SF made them look like monkeys” but yet it was a tie game with 7 min left in the game.

    And didn’t they already beat Denver this season.

  21. all4patriots says: Jan 9, 2013 12:34 PM

    There have been lots of upgrades in personnel.

    The running game scored the most points in the NFL, with new contributors Ridley and Vareen.

    Talib, Dennard, Chandler Jones, Dontae Hightower, and also McCourty moving to safety all are huge upgrades over the people getting those snaps last year.

    Brandon Lloyd essentially replaced Branch, and Branch replaces Ocho Sucko from last year.

    The only significant downgrade I see is that Gostkowski has struggled more this year

  22. irishmike1973 says: Jan 9, 2013 12:37 PM

    Deion is still playing. I thought he retired a long time ago

  23. tedmurph says: Jan 9, 2013 12:39 PM

    ravenmuscle says:Jan 9, 2013 12:07 PM

    The Patriots have no chance of winning this weekend because they have the worst fans in the NFL and a dump for a Stadium.

    ———————————————————-
    The dump of a stadium that was opened in 2002, 4 yrs after the ravens stadium. This is one of the smarter ravens fans, the ones that root harder against the Steelers than for their own team, out of jealousy. Don’t worry, the ravens will make it back someday, if they can finally win a big boy game. After next sunday, you can take the rest of the season off.

  24. azarkhan says: Jan 9, 2013 12:41 PM

    tedmurph says: Jan 9, 2013 12:04 PM

    I find it funny how the haters measure the Pats by how long it’s been since their last SB win. Not just getting there, but winning it. Meanwhile, most of them are just hoping there team can make it to the playoffs and maybe win a SB some day. Maybe when Brady and Belichick retire. Guess the Pats are held to loftier standards.

    Your comment is so good I decided to post it again.

  25. ballistictrajectory says: Jan 9, 2013 12:44 PM

    Don’t go jinxing things Deion… Follow the rulebook.

  26. Patskrieg dot com says: Jan 9, 2013 12:46 PM

    Only one way to prove it, Deion. And for you it might be your last chance.

  27. joebloww says: Jan 9, 2013 12:47 PM

    Are they filming opponents practices again?

  28. east96st says: Jan 9, 2013 12:47 PM

    Why shouldn’t they be confident? The only team to give them problems, the Giants, hit the golf course early this year.

  29. swagger91 says: Jan 9, 2013 12:49 PM

    Benn a pats fan since 2000…i love the way we runnin the ball right now tom brady is still tom brady…our defense is good I dont care bout thr yards givin up cuz wats a 85 yard drive if u cant score??? Ill see yall in new orleans #squaddddddddd!!!!!!!!!

  30. zeavott says: Jan 9, 2013 1:11 PM

    Hey woodyg, 3/5 super bowls in last 10 years isn’t bad, my friend…

    woodyg says:
    Jan 9, 2013 11:33 AM
    Doesn’t someone on the Pats say this every year at about this time?? —- But yet, the Pats haven’t won a SB since season 2004. (seven seasons and counting)

    That’s a long time to be talk’in the talk but not being able to walk the walk.

  31. aaronmushrush says: Jan 9, 2013 1:28 PM

    now that darth belicheat is video taping every practice around the league and using you to do his dirty spy work deion, hence being cut more than james harrison, you should be better. bunch a cheaters i tell ya.

  32. hooterdawg says: Jan 9, 2013 1:40 PM

    Maybe the Pats brought back Branch just to be the media yap dog.

  33. jr4real says: Jan 9, 2013 1:44 PM

    Their special because because Eli isn’t around to beat them this year.

  34. brohamma says: Jan 9, 2013 1:44 PM

    A couple people have hit the nail on the head here.. New England can, again, RUN THE BALL.

    The past two Super Bowl loses NE had 19 and 16 attempts rushing combined.. the three wins.. 24, 32, 27 combined attempts.

    Branch is 100% correct and it has to do with New England’s ability to run and keep defenses honest vs. Brady.

  35. swagger91 says: Jan 9, 2013 1:45 PM

    I love the hate the patriots get we in the playoffs every year as almost we lock the afc east locked up by week 11 or 12 and we got the best qb to ever play the game 16-6 playoff record I mean damn half the teams in the league havent played dat many playoff games in their existance…keep hatin I love it!

  36. brazzz01 says: Jan 9, 2013 1:47 PM

    “now that darth belicheat is video taping every practice around the league”

    They never taped practices.

    Speaking of James Harrison, or should I say HGHarrison, what have the Steelers won lately now that Dr Rydze isn’t associated with the team anymore? Funny that now the cheating stopped, they get rolled by Tebow and then miss the playoffs the year after that. I wonder why.

  37. brazzz01 says: Jan 9, 2013 1:49 PM

    As for Deion, he means the Pats are more balanced this year, which they are. Teams have to respect the run a lot more than they have in the past.

    The defense will hopefully step up to the plate.

  38. brazzz01 says: Jan 9, 2013 1:51 PM

    “Are they filming opponents practices again?”

    They never did.

    Aww, poor hater. Time to think of another excuse for why your team gets rolled by the pats over and over again…

  39. brohamma says: Jan 9, 2013 1:56 PM

    @woodyg.. just curious as to who your favorite team is, since you are talking that smack. Being in five of the last eleven Super Bowls isn’t to shabby in this NFL.

  40. azarkhan says: Jan 9, 2013 1:58 PM

    jr4real says: Their special because because Eli isn’t around to beat them this year.

    Poor Giants fans. Nothing to do but yap about the past.

  41. 2ruefan says: Jan 9, 2013 2:11 PM

    woodyg says: Jan 9, 2013 11:33 AM

    Doesn’t someone on the Pats say this every year at about this time?? —- But yet, the Pats haven’t won a SB since season 2004. (seven seasons and counting)

    That’s a long time to be talk’in the talk but not being able to walk the walk.

    *********************************************

    Um…”Woody”.. I’m not a PATS fan, but I would point out:
    1) It was the SB in 2005 they last won
    2) Since then they lost by 3 in 2008 and by 4 last year.

    So, really they’ve been very close to being SB champs 2 times in the last 5 years.

    How many teams have been in the bowl that many times in recent years? Not many. Giants and Steelers are about it….

  42. jolink653 says: Jan 9, 2013 2:13 PM

    The biggest difference between this team and Patriots teams from years past is that we finally have a really good running game…Ridley, Vereen, Woodhead, and Bolden all provide a different style of running and can do pretty much anything you ask of them (blocking, rushing, pass catching, etc.)…The defense is also improved, but a lot depends on the ability of Aqib Talib to stay healthy and Alfonzo Dennard to prepare himself for his first playoff game…Should also be interesting seeing what the Texans do to try to neutralize Gronk (who obviously didn’t play the first game )and Hernandez

  43. bcgreg says: Jan 9, 2013 2:59 PM

    Reminds me of a couple things Belichick has said.

    1. “Stats are for losers.”

    2. After losing to Denver in the 2005 playoffs (the Ben Watson game), “The better team… they played better than we did.”

    Point being. This is why they play the games!

  44. pef12 says: Jan 9, 2013 3:51 PM

    I am praying for a rematch with Richard Sherman and Seattle in the Superbowl and shove that smirk up Pete’s backside.

  45. Mr. Wright 212 says: Jan 9, 2013 4:45 PM

    Helps that you don’t have to face the Giants, huh, Deion?

  46. richwizl says: Jan 9, 2013 7:26 PM

    I was praying we’d meet the Giants this year with our much-improved team, but, unfortunately, The Giants stunk too bad to make it.

  47. Mr. Wright 212 says: Jan 9, 2013 7:32 PM

    Just inconsistent and worn out, that’s all. Again, be glad. Still not beating Denver, so it won’t matter.

  48. patsfan22 says: Jan 10, 2013 11:17 AM

    Pats are definitely better than last year. Last year the AFC was terrible, they had arguably the easiest road to a Superbowl ever: Tebow and Flacco at home.

    This year, the Texans and especially Denver will be a much harder road but I just feel everything is coming together at the right time, if we beat Denver in Mile High i’ll take our chances against anyone in the Superbowl.

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